BBBF – BootBlock BrainFile

After having created the Virus-Interceptor I was asked by Erik Loevendahl-Soerensen of the SHI to create a library of routines to detect and remove bootblock-viruses from floppy disks. This library would then be used by other software dealing with floppy disc access such as diskcopy programs, backup software and other antivirus software.

Of course I could not resist that chance to create software, and an API, that would be so widely used. I set to work at once. SHI sent a batch of boot-viruses to me and I sent SHI a beta version of the software after a week.

I named the library BBBF. Calling a file containing virus-definitions a “brainfile” was something that started with BootX, I think.

I developed a few tools to help me create order in the chaos that was the bootblocks. I had hundreds of boot-viruses as well as hundreds of normal bootblocks on file, and tools that could do fully automated comparisons between them, making sure that no legitimate bootblock would be accidentally identified as a virus (false positive), and to make sure that all the viruses were correctly identified.

BBBF had a problem with a few mutating/encrypting viruses. There was no code in BBBF to decrypt or to analyse them so it had to rely on the few bytes of the only part of the virus that was not encrypted or mutated, increasing the risk of false positives.

BBBF was included in XCopy, the premier disc-copying software for the Amiga, well-known by all Amiga users, as well as many other disk-related applications.

As with Virus-Interceptor, lack of time and motivation finally made me resign and hand over the code and tools to SHI.

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